The man sat at the sidewalk café sipping his coffee. His attention turned to the table in front and to the left of him.
The two women sitting there sipped tall glasses of water. They ate what the man labeled, in his considerate opinion, as food that even a rabbit would find distasteful. Their salads could hardly be called that—iceberg lettuce and a few sliced cherry tomatoes. When they ate, they used their teeth to slide the few morsels of food from the fork. Every few minutes, as if on cue, one of the women would toss her hair with her hand.
He watched them for a few moments. When the pair noticed a woman exiting a store across the street, the conversation became animated.
“Don’t look now, but there goes Beulah,” the brunette said.
The man examined the woman across the street. There was nothing remarkable about her. Her hair was pulled back in a ponytail although a few dark strands had escaped in the front to tickle her eyelashes. There existed a hint of color on her lips. The flowered blouse and dark pants she wore could have been purchased from any department store.
“All she ever seems to do is run errands,” said the brunette.
“What a shame she’s so busy,” said the redhead. “She could be eating lunch with us, but instead she chooses to labor like a work horse.”
“That’s what I don’t understand about her. Her husband makes good money from what I hear. She should be out spending it—like us. She doesn’t understand the way things work, poor dear.” The brunette chuckled.
The redhead sat back in the chair and admired her nails. “If she really wanted to please that gorgeous husband of hers, she’d get a makeover.”
Both women laughed this time. They caught Beulah’s eye across the street and waved to her. She simply nodded her head and smiled because her arms were laden with dry cleaning and grocery bags.
“What does Kevin see in her I wonder? He’s six feet tall, healthy, but not fat and he’s always well dressed,” said the brunette.
“He should have gone for someone like us. We spend our time trying to look as stunning as possible and our husband’s don’t even appreciate it,” said the redhead.
“I think they’re as confused as Beulah.”
While the women laughed, secure in their knowledge of life and love, the man stood and walked across the street. He met Beulah coming out of a jewelry store.
“Good afternoon, Beulah,” he said.
“Good afternoon Reverend. I’d shake your hand, but…”
“Let me help you to your car.” He grabbed her grocery bags.
“Thank you,” she said.
“Beulah let me ask you something. Do you resent having to do a lot for your family?”
“No Reverend. God told me that my responsibility is to take care of hearth and home. But, I take care of my family because I love them.”
“Do you ever take time to take care of yourself?”
Beulah noticed that he was staring at her clothes. She smiled.
“I’ll let you in on my secret. While dinner is cooking and the kids are doing their homework, I am ‘cleaning up’ so to speak. Half of this dry cleaning is mine. When Kevin comes home I smell and look as good as…..Linda and Carmen over there.” Beulah pointed to the redhead and the brunette sitting at the sidewalk café.
“Don’t worry, Reverend. Kevin knows I take care of home, if you get my meaning.” She winked at him.
“I think I understand.”
The Reverend waved good-bye to Beulah and headed home. When he walked through the door, the smell of steak and onions filled his nostrils. Following the scent to the kitchen, he found his wife standing at the sink washing a head of lettuce. He slipped his arms around her waist and nuzzled against her neck.
“Thank you for all that you do for me,” he whispered.
She turned and eyed him with suspicion.
“Why Reverend Richards what has come over you today?” she said playfully.
“Today, someone reminded me where the heart of beauty really lies.”
“Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies.” (Proverbs 31:10, KJV)
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